EU to suspend Russian visa agreement

Foreign ministers from the European Union have agreed to suspend a visa facilitation agreement for Russian citizens, although they stopped short of an outright ban on them traveling to the EU.

The ministers discussed the issue on Wednesday in Prague.

EU leaders say they have seen a "substantial increase" in the number Russians traveling to the EU for "leisure and shopping." They say it is as if "no war was raging in Ukraine."

EU border agents say about one million Russians have entered since the beginning of the war. Authorities had already tightened visa restrictions on officials and business people.

However, the minsters could not agree on a total ban. Those from Germany, France, and Belgium say Russians who oppose the war or want to leave the country should not be "punished."

So, instead of imposing a blanket ban, they made it harder for Russians to enter the EU by suspending the visa facilitation agreement.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, had received an invitation to join the discussions despite his country not being an EU member. He called the suspension "a half measure" and said such half measures are exactly what led to the invasion.

He added that if Russians do not respect the borders of their neighbors in Europe, they should "stay at home and enjoy Russia."